THREE HUNTING DOGS TRAPPED AND TAKEN TO SPCA JUNE 2019
Over a period of several weeks in May and June 2019 Wildlife Watch came across two adult dogs with a juvenile on separate occasions coming from and running along the edge of the reserve at night. Both the adults, a knee-high tan crossbreed and a white fluffy dog with a black patch on its head, ran across the R72 and into Ekuphumleni. The consequences of dogs in the reserve can be dire. Brian Pachonick predicted that they probably constituted a hunting pack.
On Friday morning, 5 July, Wildlife Watch went through a part of the reserve where blue duiker live in order to find traces of the dogs or their owner. Evidence of the previous night’s hunt was found: the tiny, torn-off hind leg of a blue duiker.With the help of Rotarians Brian Pachonick and Roger Carthew, Wildlife Watch set a trap to catch the dogs. All three dogs were caught and taken to the SPCA. For more details see ‘Other Threats’.
WILDLIFE PROTECTION HOTLINE
The Wildlife Protection Hotline was started in September 2014 in response to poaching that was taking place with the use of dogs on vacant plots in the centre of Kenton in the middle of the night. Calls to the hotline on 046 648 1032 are received by the Hi Tec control 24/7.
If people bring dogs into town without leads, Hi Tec guards warn the offenders to put their dogs on leads or take them out of town. If dogs need to be caught and taken to the SPCA, the Hi Tec control room phones Wildlife Watch.
While stray and uncontrolled dogs are the subject of most of the calls to the hotline, others have included the rescue of a domestic pig, a terrapin, a tree hyrax, a giant king fisher and a whale, thought to be in trouble in the waves off Main Beach. Thanks to a call to Bay Watch, Wildlife Watch was advised that the whale was probably about to give birth, which she did. Mother and baby hung around for a couple of weeks before swimming out to sea. (See Sightings and Census for more detail about the whale.)
For almost ten years the Rotary Club of Kenton has funded a snare eradication programme. Every four to six weeks, rangers from a local wildlife conservancy go through the Reserve looking for snares, which are destroyed. The conservancy rangers find on average two or three snares, mainly around building sites.
HELP FROM SAPS KENTON
The officers on duty at the Kenton police station are obliging and helpful. If they have personnel and a vehicle available, they promptly follow up on reports of untoward noises coming from areas of natural bush. These sounds could be from hunting dogs, BB guns, air rifles, muffled guns and other unknown devices used to trap or kill wildlife.
We are grateful for the help of the SAPS in Kenton, and could not do without this help.
THE HELP OF RESIDENTS
PLEASE KEEP YOU DOGS ON LEADS EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE DOCILE AND OBEDIENT
If we want visitors and shoppers from outlying areas to keep their dogs on leads, then we must too. Please help us to make wildlife protection part of our urban culture in Kenton.
Please report suspicious noises, especially ones you hear in the wee small hours, even at dawn, to the SAPS Kenton on 046 648 1222, or to Hi Tec on the hotline 046 648 1032.
Reports about sea creatures, such as the whale, are passed on to Verona Veltman (083 654 9976) or Lara Cummings (083 267 5198). Lara provided us with information that the whale was probably about to give birth, which the whale was. She gave birth just beyond the breakers at Main Beach at the end of July 2018.
The watchfulness of residents is one of the best ways of protecting Kenton’s remaining wildlife. For instance, on Friday 19 October 2018 just after 10 am someone called the Wildlife Protection Hotline to report that he had seen two dogs hunting in the Joan Muirhead Nature Reserve. Wildlife Watch Kenton investigated and found that the two dogs were a pair of Jack Russells belonging to a resident, possibly someone living on the eastern side of Kenton.
On Monday afternoon, 22nd October, another resident spotted two Jack Russells going into the reserve again. He waited patiently for them to come out. When they did he followed them home. He reported the matter to Wildlife Watch and we were able to communicate with the owner to request that he keep his dogs in his yard and under control at all times.
In the meantime, Hi Tec, the security firm, had put its guards on high alert to catch the dogs, or report their whereabouts. If uncontrolled dogs are found and caught, they are taken to the SPCA in Port Alfred. The SPCA has confirmed that the cost of retrieving the dogs is around R450 per dog for the first day. Costs rise per day from then onwards. The cost includes transport, boarding, dipping, identification procedures and admin.
Please report untoward noises such as hunting dogs to us on 0662275670 or Hi Tec on 046 648 1032 at any time of the day or night. Our grateful thanks to Hi Tec.
EYES AND EARS AT NIGHT
Poaching takes place at night, and usually after midnight up until dawn. If residents are out at night it is helpful if they can take the long way home, so to speak. Drive slowly along the streets that skirt areas of natural bush. The more cars there are driving around slowly the safer it is for wildlife and for everyone. Similarly, if you have to be out before dawn, drive around the areas of natural bush slowly on your way out.
Night owls should consider going on a game drive in the wee hours of the morning. With the help of willing residents we can create an intermittent and unexpected presence in the streets during the night to act as a deterrent to poachers.